The Missoula City-County Health Department received a $3,600 grant from the CJ Foundation for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) to work in conjunction with Missoula Community Medical Center's Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit in an effort to educate parents about safe-sleep techniques for newborns.

Missoula City-County Health Department Director of Health Services Kate Siegrist said the grant will be used primarily to help at-risk families, those whose babies have have recently been sent home from the NICU at Community Medical Center.

"We're focusing this grant effort on babies that are at particular risk for health problems because they've been in the intensive care unit," Siegrist said. "Those babies, when they get home, may have a little bit more of a risk factor, so we're really focusing on those families."

Siegrist said the tradition picture of a crib crowded with pillows and stuffed animals is not a safe place for a newborn to sleep.

"We are really focusing on babies put on their backs to sleep," Siegrist said. "We recommend getting rid of pillows, bumpers, fluffy stuffed animals, etcetera in the crib. We want to create an environment that is safe for that baby to sleep."

Siegrist said the grant will help provide in-home evaluations for new parents, as well.

Director of Health Services Kate Siegrist